By Ashley Edwards Walker
Luke and Kaitlyn were looking for different things when they each downloaded Bumble in 2018. Luke’s career as a professional baseball player made it hard to meet people; he spent half of each year in the U.S. playing the professional season there, then the other half of the year playing professionally in Australia and living in his hometown of Sydney. For those reasons, he “didn’t have super high expectations” for finding a serious relationship on Bumble—but he was open to using it for dating until he hit the road again.
By comparison, Kaitlyn, a digital marketing consultant who’s “lived all over” and had moved to Sydney for work a year-and-a-half earlier, “really wanted to find someone.” She preferred Bumble over other dating apps because it allowed her to add more information to her profile, which led to matches based on more than “just a photo.” But, as intentional as she was about her search for a partner, she did occasionally let her friends, and fate, intervene—a decision that ultimately led her to Luke.
It was winter 2018 when Kaitlyn’s roommates were going through her Bumble queue and came across Luke’s profile. “They were like, ‘Oh my gosh, yes. Swipe yes. Great option for you,’” remembers Kaitlyn. But when she got her phone back and took a closer look at her new match, she decided Luke wasn’t her type. For one thing, she thought he was American because his profile stated that he’d gone to college in Texas. And Kaitlyn, who is half American and half French, had decided (from experience!) that romantic prospects from both America and France were “not for me.” They were also on the cusp of each other’s preferred age range; Kaitlyn had filtered out anyone 29 or older, and Luke was about to turn 29. Kaitlyn was 24—the very bottom of Luke’s age filter. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, she assumed he was “a jock,” and therefore wouldn’t share her interests in restaurants, culture, travel, and art. She decided to let the 24-hour period she had to initiate a conversation with a new match on Bumble expire.
That might have been the end of it—except Luke, who shared none of Kaitlyn’s concerns about their supposed incompatibility, had other ideas. He’d been drawn to her profile by her “striking” photos. And after they’d matched, he’d realized he also knew someone who worked for the company where Kaitlyn was employed, so he screenshotted her profile and sent it to them, asking for intel. “They told me she was super intelligent and really interesting,” he says. They then reached out to Kaitlyn. “You have to meet each other,” she remembers her coworker telling her. When she protested, citing his American heritage, the colleague revealed that Luke was actually Australian. It was a game-changer, Kaitlyn says, explaining she’d fallen in love with the country—and its men—thanks to an Australian soap opera she’d watched growing up. This new information was enough to convince her to finally message Luke on Bumble, just 30 minutes before their match expired.
Kaitlyn remembers her opening line being something along the lines of, “I guess we’re meant to talk to each other.” But the conversation quickly turned to planning their first date, an after-work walk through a local park three days later. The two ended up hitting it off, walking around the park talking about Australia, their families, and their upbringings for three hours. “It’s not the biggest park, so we were basically doing circles because we were having a really good conversation and neither of us wanted to leave,” she says.
Before they parted ways, Luke walked Kaitlyn in the direction of her apartment, then went in for a kiss at a busy intersection. “He just went for what he wanted, and I loved that confidence,” she says. Her roommates have since reminded her that, when she got home that evening, she announced, “I’m either going to marry him, or a guy exactly like him.” Luke says he was also “excited by the potential” of his feelings for Kaitlyn, but was worried about the future and what would happen when he left for America again. To that end, he made a conscious effort to “mentally keep distance” so their feelings for each other didn’t grow too fast.
After a second date at a BYO restaurant, Kaitlyn traveled home to France for the Christmas holidays. She made an effort to stay in touch, writing Luke messages and sending him photos. And although he reciprocated, he “felt quite torn,” he says. They continued to spend time together in the months that followed. For their third date, they went to a festival with the mutual friends who’d encouraged them to get together in the first place. And since they both traveled for work a lot, Kaitlyn started trying to coordinate her work trips so she could meet Luke in whatever Australian city he was playing baseball.
Meanwhile, the date for Luke’s return to the U.S. for the 2019 baseball season was fast approaching. They had a few tricky conversations. “I was very much sold on her as someone I wanted to be with,” says Luke. “But at the same time, I was trying not to get in a relationship with someone I’d only known for four to six months before I went back to the U.S. for six or seven months.” Ultimately, they decided to give long distance a try. They talked as often as possible, and Kaitlyn made trips to the U.S. to visit Luke where he was playing, first in Fargo, North Dakota and, later, Chicago. “We always joke that even though I sound more American and have the passport, he’s definitely more American in terms of understanding the culture because he’s actually lived there and plays baseball,” says Kaitlyn, who has never lived in the U.S. despite having citizenship. She enjoyed having Luke as her tour guide through areas of the country she hadn’t seen before, and their relationship continued to grow.
Despite the time difference, they texted daily and video called several times a week. “It helped us stay intertwined in each other’s lives,” says Luke. Even continents apart, and with different worldviews, they made it work. “We’re from drastically different backgrounds, Kate being European, into wine, champagne, fine dining, and I’m into surfing and sports,” admits Luke. But both have grown to appreciate their differences, and say they complement each other. “In the areas we both needed a little help or support, the other is strong,” Katilyn says, pointing out that Luke’s “calming” presence is often the antidote to her “frenetic” energy, and vice versa: “It’s the perfect balance.”
When Luke returned to Sydney, he played through the 2019 Australian baseball season. Then COVID-19 hit, and he decided not to return to the U.S. for the 2020 season. That’s when “things accelerated,” says Luke. Having been together for about a year at that point, the couple moved in together and leaned on each other for support through the emotional ups and downs of quarantine. Katilyn turned to Luke for comfort when she missed her family back in France. And she, in turn, became a bright spot for Luke while he grappled with missing out on international baseball competitions. Kaitlyn also encouraged Luke to take the next step in his career, cheering him on as he applied to and accepted a new job at a global tech company. “Kate was a big inspiration for me to further my working career,” he says. “Her intelligence and academic achievement is aspirational for me, and we push each other intellectually.”
Their COVID experience ultimately solidified for Luke that he wanted Kaitlyn to be his wife, and he decided to sponsor her on a partner visa so she could remain in Australia after her work visa expired. They bought a house together in Sydney, and when the country’s borders finally reopened, he and Kaitlyn traveled to France to spend Christmas 2021 with her family. Luke proposed on that trip. Their wedding took place in April 2023. Now, they’re embracing their differences as they look toward the future and build a family together. “We arenʼt the obvious choice for one another on paper,” says Kaitlyn, “but together we push each other to be better versions of ourselves.”